A rapid and effective way to produce vaccines against new flu strains has been developed by scientists.

The virus that causes flu frequently changes its genetic code, making it difficult for scientists to think up an effective vaccine.

But now, University of Miami computer scientist Dimitris Papamichail and researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a way to produce shots against new strains.

The novel approach uses computer algorithms created by Papamichail and his associates to design viruses that serve as live vaccines, which are then synthesised to specification.

The new method is called Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE), Nature Biotechnology reported online.

“We have been able to produce an entirely novel method to systematically design vaccines using computer algorithms,” says Papamichail, assistant professor in computer science and study co-author, according to a University of Miami release.

“Our approach is not only useful for influenza; it is also applicable to a wide range of viruses,” he said.

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